Finance minister II: RM3b request won’t alter Budget 2016 deficit

Johari (centre) said the Supplementary Supply (2016) Bill 2017 that is being debated simply lists down in detail the items that the contingency funds would be spent on. — File pic
Johari (centre) said the Supplementary Supply (2016) Bill 2017 that is being debated simply lists down in detail the items that the contingency funds would be spent on. — File pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 27 — The government's Supplementary Supply Bill for RM3.08 billion will not affect the previously projected deficit for Budget 2016, Finance Minister II Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani said today.

Johari explained that the federal government is merely seeking Parliament's approval for additional spending that was already accounted for under Budget 2016, and the extra expenditure was also factored into the forecast deficit in October 2015.

"Each time we do (the) Budget, it'll have a contingency amount. For operating expenditure, the government will put in RM1.5 billion that is unspecified when we present the Budget each year. Same as for development expenditure, we will have contingency fund of RM2 billion that is not specific to any expenditure item.

"Only (that) according to the Constitution, although the contingency has been approved by Parliament, it is the government's responsibility to retable the detailed expenditure (under) RM1.5 billion and RM2 billion," he said in his winding-up speech at the end of the Bill's debate at the policy stage.

Johari said the Supplementary Supply (2016) Bill 2017 that is being debated simply lists down in detail the items that the contingency funds would be spent on.

He also explained today that RM2.2 billion — the largest allocation item in the Bill listed as item B12 — is actually not an expenditure, but is listed as such due to the government's accounting system.

He said the sum is actually an excess of government revenue in the form of unspent operating expenditure that is transferred to the government's Development Fund.

The minister added that he has requested that the Accountant-General study the possibility of not listing such transfers as “expenditure”.

Johari was responding to a question from Umno’s Jasin MP Datuk Ahmad Hamzah on whether the Budget 2016’s projected deficit took into account the supplementary amount sought, and PKR’s Kelana Jaya MP Wong Chen who asked whether the federal government was engaging in a “window-dressing” exercise to ensure a smaller budget deficit amount.

Despite a January 2016 revision of its expected revenue and expenditure for Budget 2016 to RM252.1 billion and RM212.6 billion respectively, the federal government had then stuck to its targeted budget deficit of 3.1 per cent.

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